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Published: October 15th 2008
We weren’t really sure where to go in Northland so we ended up in Whangarei where we managed to find a really nice campsite right next to Whangarei Falls outside the main town. When we checked in the lady showed us around all the facilities and walked us to our pitch. Once we’d parked up we walked to Whangarei Falls, we’d seen so many waterfalls I thought they’d be disappointing but they were really pretty. For some reason I mentioned to Nick it might be nice to go for a jog down past the waterfall to the other walking tracks, what a stupid idea! Within 5 minutes I was out of breath so we ended up doing 5mins walking 5mins running. It was really nice down along the river in the sun and then into a forest which looked similar to those in Asia. After Whangarei we drove up to the Bay of Islands which we weren’t that impressed with. The weather wasn’t very good and from the town you couldn’t really see many islands so we didn’t stay long. We headed further north and found a little place called Taupo Bay which was a really small village with no shops. The owner of the campsite we were staying in said if we wanted to go fishing down on the beach he would be happy to lend us a rod, hooks and some bait. So we joined up with another couple staying at the campsite, bought some beers and headed down to the beach. We sat there for 4hrs and only managed to catch 2 rock cod which you can’t eat; we did nearly catch a seagull that was going for the bait as well though. The rest of Northland wasn’t very interesting as the weather started getting quite bad so the scenery wasn’t very nice and the people were all a bit weird. One guy told us he’d be in prison if he hadn’t moved away from his home town! So we spent most of the time in the van making sure no-one broke in! Even though we were on the tourist route the roads were really uneven so it was really slow. On the west coast of Northland we did go to see Tane Mahuta or Lord of the Forest which is a massive Kauri tree said to be over 2000yrs old and is 52m high and 14m wide. You can’t tell from the photos but it was absolutely massive. At one campsite I looked out the back of the van and saw 2 Maori guys rubbing noses like an eskimo kiss which I thought was weird, I later found out it’s a sign of respect in Maori culture…weird! We washed the van before making the 32km journey to Auckland, I was hoping that we didn’t crash in the last 32km after doing 6500km; luckily we made it to the depot safe and sound. They checked over the van and didn’t find anything wrong with it so we were free to go check-in at a hostel. On our first day in Auckland we went for a walk round town and chatted to some fellow travelers which we then went for a few drinks with on the roof. On our second day we went to meet up with Judy who I used to work with at EDF, She took us out of the main town to a really nice restaurant next to the beach. It was really nice to catch up and she bought us a really tasty lunch which was really filling. She also bought us chocolate dipped ice-cream which I didn’t even realise existed…was tasty though. We walked along the sea front (luckily it didn’t rain) to the bus stop chatting away and eating our ice-creams, unfortunately just as we got to the bus stop our bus arrived and we had to run off. We decided to go to Newmarket in the afternoon which is where all the shops are, we walked around a little bit and then watched Body of Lies at the cinema. Our third day in Auckland was really sunny so 3 of us headed to Albert Park which was full of massive really nice trees and was a nice getaway from the skyscrapers. We invented a game called ‘twigs’ where you had to throw sticks at a bottle until it fell over, it was actually really entertaining. While we were playing twigs a little dog ran round the corner and it looked so cute, turns out it was the dog off a beer advert over here, pretty much a celebrity so we had our pictures taken with it! Auckland is full of sushi bars so we felt obliged to call in and have sushi for lunch, I tried wasabi and it was disgusting! On the way back to the hostel we met up with a few people who told us at 7pm there was free food around the corner. Apparently they were filming a similar version of Ramsays Kitchen Nightmares and needed people to eat the food and say what they thought of it. Obviously at 7pm we were there signing the consent forms and waiting inline for our free burgers. It was so funny because whenever we saw the camera pointing at us we tried to look cool but not sure if we pulled it off! At about 7.30pm we were told we could go and order whatever we wanted, obviously the boys picked the 2nd most expensive thing on the menu and milkshakes! Whilst we were eating our food the camera crew came over and I was asked what I thought of the burger, I didn’t know whether to just say it was good or say a whole sentence. They then asked the boys what they thought of their milkshakes but while Nick was answering the director was doing the cut sign with his hand across his throat! It was so funny! On our last day in Auckland we walked to the sky tower which wasn’t that exciting, but while we were there we spotted a pawn shop where I managed to buy a new 4GB ipod for £35 which I was happy about. We were up at 4.30am the next day to catch our flight to Australia; luckily it all went without a hitch. We even got a TV screen each, free food and free drink on the 4hr flight which was great!
We’re now in Melbourne for at least a week before we make our way along the Great Ocean Road.
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